By Prince J. Ndoyi, MMD Youth
News making rounds about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been a debate so confusing for us the lay men. But soon after listening to politicians opening their mouths on the issue one quickly realises that infact its the POLITICIANS instead who are more confused than the ordinary Zambians.
Last week, the FUND withdrew its country representative to Zambia arising from a tweet by former IMF Communications Director Chibamba Kanyama, panic gripped government and stray statements began to flood social media one such from our very own Minister Dora Siliya.
Government through her insisted that IMF has not left the country officially but merely recalled its representative. The question is if it was merely an administrative thing, then did it warrant a ministerial statement?
Sadly, Chibamba Kanyama got all sorts of condemnation from scores of onlookers and some PF cadres for his tweet. UPND on the other hand came to party as expected supporting Chibamba Kanyama. Unfortunately, for some exposing their delinquency and ignorance on the matter.
Who should the Zambians believe between CHIBAMBA KANYAMA or DORA SILIYA, Margaret Mwanakatwe and Cde Sunday Chanda?
The IMF issue is somewhat a very complex discussion that can not be trivialised to petty street gossip. Worse off left for cadres to react to. Our economy is at stake and the best we can do is to critically and truthfully confront the 1.3Billion Dollars IMF bailout and Zambia discussion. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing political about the IMF but there is everything political about the competing needs of where we source our bailout and the debt sustainability thereof.
Any member country of the IMF like Zambia, whether rich, middle-income, or poor, can turn to the IMF for financing if it has a balance of payments need—that is, if it cannot find sufficient financing on affordable terms in the capital markets to make its international payments and maintain a safe level of reserves. The IMF is not a development bank and, unlike the World Bank and other development agencies, it does not finance projects
One wonders the excitement with cadres about China. Describing the IMF with all sorts of names like colonialists, imperialists etc. Maybe they may need to be educated that China is a member of the IMF since 1945. While they may think that China is an option, China sits on the governing board of the IMF.
As ardent follower of economic trends, I was worried to see the Head of State literally begging for financial help from Turkey. I had hoped that he would have done that behind closed doors and not on camera. It just says a lot about what is brewing economy wise for the President to go to that length. And subsequently President Lungu sent an envoy to Turkey at the level of Vice President madam Inonge Wina to materialise his requests. We may wait longer to see any results from that trip.
Zambia desperately needs a bailout but from where, because options continue to go bleak and one such option is IMF. IMF suspended any discussions with Zambia after the Zambian government began to portray itself as though they can do without the IMF even the bailout itself. From the language from PF operatives and government one can easily deduce that we have a totally wrong approach and we may not succeed in time. Because our actions and language are not consistent.
Finally, I want to say that the Zambian government lacks the political capital to generate interest for a resumption of the discussions with the IMF on a possible bailout. The ugly truth is that possibly events within our economy that necessitated the withdraw of their country representative, and we can do ourselves better to face those facts head on not by burying our heads in the sand. Matters of the general economy are too sensitive and may require sobriety.